Saturday, September 15, 2007

Presidential Politics and CNN

Note: I've written a lot in recent week about candidate Mike Huckabee. I'm going to sit back for awhile and see how his campaign evolves (if it does in fact evolve). In early October, we'll see how he did in fundraising -- he must raise at least $4-$5 million to remain an effective candidate. As for Mitt Romney, his fundraising dropped by $6 million in the second quarter (to a still impressive $14 million). Romney's "unfavorables" are quite high, and he needs to overcome that by spending large amounts of money -- and by being very consistent (for a change) in his statements about social issues. Giuliani's unfavorables are very low compared to Romney's, and "America's Mayor" still looks like the man to beat. Fred Thompson launched his campaign and, rather than taking off, it seems to have landed with a large thud. McCain's national number have gone up in the past month, but he MUST win NH to remain a viable candidate. Hunter, Brownback, Tancredo, and Paul are finished, although they may not be aware that they're "Dead Men Walking." Paul "wins" all the online polls but stays steady at about 2% in the real surveys. As I've suggested before, Mike Huckabee's strong supporters in the evangelical and home-school movements have him hog-tied him when it comes to broadening his appeal.

"We've all probably been surveilled in Vegas . . . doing something or other." -- T.J. Holmes (CNN Weekend)Holmes

T. J. "Why did the chicken cross the street?"
Betty Nguyen (CNN Weekend): "To get to the other side, right?"
T. J. "Oh, I thought it was because there was a Starbucks over there."

On CNN's "Weekend Morning" show, the two anchors are very different people. T. J. Holmes, an African-American, is the ultimate in what used to be called "coolness." The female host is Betty Nguyen (Nah-win), an Asian (Vietnamese) and Anglo person who mentioned once that she speaks on the phone to her mother "every day."

Her mother should be very proud of Betty's ability and fairness, as T. J.'s family should be proud of their son. She comes across as the combination cheerleader/class valedictorian while his image is that of the high-school quarterback who was -- perhaps semi-secretly -- also a very good student.

T. J. flirts regularly with the very attractive (and relentlessly capable) Betty. At one point he asked her if she liked to drink his favorite beverage, "malt liquor" (beer), and she reacted as if he'd asked her if she liked the taste of possum.

Holmes and Nguyen both present the news objectively and fairly -- without any of the bias and manipulation characteristic of many other CNN people. T. J.'s and Betty's "agendas" are to give viewers the news as well as possible.

For about six weeks recently, Betty was absent from the show. She was in Africa, doing a series of programs about that continent. In one episode, African children flocked around her, intuitively recognizing her friendliness and approachability.

When she returned to "Weekend Morning" last weekend, T. J. said the following. "Betty, welcome back. While you were gone, one woman after another sat in for you. And I want you to know one thing."

Betty looked at him expectantly, and T. J. said: "All those women who sat here in your chair . . . meant absolutely NOTHING to me."

Betty smiled demurely.

These two terrific young people have unlimited potential. Watch them go!

Stephen R. Maloney
Ambridge, PA

T. J. and Betty present the news honestly and accurately, as does Kiran Chetry during the work-week. Kyra Phillips in the afternoon is a serious journalist and, when she was in Iraq, did some of the best stories I've ever seen from that country.

But who are the CNN people you should avoid because they tend toward Leftist manipulation?

Arwa Damon, the network's regular correspondent in Iraq, traditionally has been awful. She's an Arab who acts as if she's personally outraged by the presence of "infidels" (Americans) in Iraq. Ms. Damon should be ashamed of herself, but shame doesn't seem to be her strong suit.

John Roberts on the CNN "Morning Show" has a history pf skewing news. He's the only journalist in the Western World who tried (unsuccessfully) to defend John Edwards' $400 haircut. ("He was running late. It was after-hours and he had to pay time-and-a-half," etc.)

Wolf Blitzer ("Dunderhead and Blitzen") is nothing short of horrible. During the first Gulf War he announced after the first night's bombing that "The [Iraqi] Republican Guard has been decimated!" At the time, the Republican Guard had about six divisions, and they had NOT been decimated.

William Schneider may be the absolute worst of the CNN crew. He reports mainly on political statistics, and he never misses an opportunity to say that things are going from bad to worst for Republicans. Schneider never ever departs from Beltway platitudes, and he has no business being on serious news shows.

Richard Ware, a CNN correspondent in Iraq (and at one point in Lebanon) has absolutely no understanding of what the War in Iraq is about. If al Qaeda in Iraq conducts suicide bombings that kill 500 members of a religious sect, Ware doesn't get even mildly disconcerted. He would fit in fine on Al-Jazeera. He's the one who reportedly hecked John McCain at a press conference.

A mass firing (but not of T. J., Betty, Kyra, and Heidi Collins) would make CNN a much better news network.

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